Guided Reading Level: TGrade Level Equivalent: 5
A refreshing source of ideas to help your children learn to grow their own patch of earth, Gardening Lab for Kids encourages children to get outside and enjoy nature. This fun and creative book features 52 plant-related activities set into weekly lessons, beginning with learning to read maps to find your heat zone, moving through seeds, soil, composting, and then creating garden art and appreciating your natural surroundings. Author Renata Fossen Brown guides your family through fun opportunities learning about botany, ecology, the seasons, food, patience, insects, eating, and cooking. The labs can be used as singular projects or to build up to a year of hands-on outdoor experiences. The lessons in this book are open-ended to be explored over and over - with different results each time! Garden Lab for Kids is the perfect book for creative families, friends, and community groups and works as lesson plans for both experienced and new gardeners. Children of all ages and experience levels can be guided by adults and will enjoy these engaging exercises. So, slip on your muddy clothes, and get out and grow!
As the Vice President of Education, Renata Fossen Brown oversees the thousands of school children visiting Cleveland Botanical Garden yearly, the development and implementation of teacher professional development workshops, the library, Hershey Children's Garden, and the garden's urban youth farming program, Green Corps. She assisted in the planning and facilitating of a ten-day teacher workshop in Costa Rica to study biodiversity. Brown is involved in the writing of interpretation and exhibit graphics at the garden and served as president of the Cleveland Regional Council of Science Teachers.
Brown holds a B.A. in biology from the University of Toledo and an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Bradley University, in Peoria, Ill. She is certified to teach grades seven through twelve science, and has been active in informal science education since 1993.
As Assistant Curator of Education at the Toledo Zoo, Brown was responsible for all educational programs occurring on zoo grounds, as well as researching and writing for the zoo's Emmy award-winning television show, Zoo Today. Creating and implementing its very first Earth Day celebration is a task of which she is particularly proud. She continued her education role, while adding volunteer coordinator duties and working at Luthy Botanical Garden in Peoria.
A native Clevelander, Renata Fossen Brown gladly returned home in 2004 after a fifteen-year absence. She was named the garden's Clara DeMallie Sherwin Chair in Education in December 2004. She is usually surrounded in her yard by her three dogs and prefers natives and perennials over annuals any day. She is particularly in love with purple coneflower.